School has officially begun!

And I’ve officially resurrected this blog!

I transferred from Purdue University’s Professional Flight program to Empire State College’s Environmental Studies program.  As of today I am able to access my online courses and sift through the mountain of information on each course’s website.

Yes, I said “online”.  When I thought about leaving Purdue back in January I realized I had spent over half of my life cooped up in a classroom.  Not anymore!

Anyway, I thought I’d post the course descriptions for the four classes I’m taking this semester.  I’m extremely excited and have already completed a couple of tasks.  Given the fact that classes haven’t even started yet (they start next week), I think I’m on a good schedule.

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Ethnobotany:

Our human ancestors depended on plants for food, shelter, medicine, and clothing. Plants also had a key role in religion and mythology. Knowledge of plants and their uses was vital for survival for early peoples, and many cultures today still depend on plants for many of their resources. In this course, students will learn about plant biology and the role of plants in societies throughout the world. Ethnobotanical field methods will be introduced and students will engage in field/practical activities. Other topics for exploration and discussion will include conservation, sustainable development, bioprospecting, and intellectual property rights.

GPS and the New Geography:

The environment is a major topic of public discussion and debate. Spatial information and geographic literacy is a basis for a growing number of disciplines. From agriculture to climate change, people need to know how location affects our understanding of natural systems. This course combines both topics. In this activity-based course, students will explore environmental science from a geographic perspective using global positioning systems and mass GIS to gather and analyze geographically referenced environmental data while learning about the broader applications of these tools to environmental science and other fields. At the same time, students will get a hands-on look at how geographic data is gathered and turned into maps.

Plant Ecology:

Plant ecology is the scientific study of interactions that determine the distribution and abundance of plants within the environment. This course will introduce students to the fundamental principles and concepts of plant ecology through an examination of plants within the environment. Topics will include: the individual plant and how it interacts with its environment; population biology; communities — how populations of different plant species interact; from ecosystems to landscapes; and global patterns and processes of plant ecology. Some of the subjects covered are unique to plants, such as photosynthesis and the ecology of plant-soil interactions. Other topics, such as resource and mate acquisition, emphasize the distinctive ways plants (in contrast to mobile animals) deal with their environments. Human environmental influences on plants are covered.

Contemporary Environmental Issues:

This interdisciplinary course examines a broad range of contemporary global environmental issues, such as biodiversity, pollution, population growth, and global warming, and focuses on how those big issues might affect us locally. It develops students’ environmental literacy and enables them to take part in informed debate and action. It explores environmental materials in a variety of media and teaches students how to navigate these materials; how to analyze and evaluate information; how to balance information from a variety of scientific and nonscientific, objective and subjective sources; and how to develop arguments surrounding environmental problems.

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I’m excited.